Scott Dixon, Ganassi, IndyCar, 2023

Dixon spins but wins after resisting Rahal’s charge


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After being spun around on the opening lap of Saturday’s Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis, Scott Dixon blended savvy driving and strategy perfectly to take his first IndyCar win of the season in a thrilling sprint to the finish as pole-winner Graham Rahal hunted him down.

Dixon was already up against it as he started 15th, then got caught up in a first-lap incident that had direct implications in the IndyCar championship chase.

Light contact between championship leader Alex Palou and rookie Marcus Armstrong tipped the latter around at turn 11. Almost simultaneously, Romain Grosjean made contact with Dixon, spinning the Ganassi racer. While Grosjean got stuck behind Armstrong’s spun car, Josef Newgarden was left with nowhere to go and landed on top of the rookie’s machine.

Dixon stayed on the lead lap and pitted during the ensuing Safety Car intervention to discard the primary compound tyres he started on. Meanwhile, Newgarden dropped off the lead lap and would finish 25th, a near-fatal blow to his already slim hopes of taking a third IndyCar Series title.

Meanwhile Devlin DeFrancesco, who started a career-best fifth, performed a daredevil first-corner pass to take the lead from Rahal. The RLL driver soon regained first lap and held off his team mate Christian Lundgaard early on. But it soon became clear that Dixon, who was maximising every tank of fuel and every set of alternate-compound tyres he was given, would be a genuine factor for the win once the final round of pit stops began.

Dixon came in for his final stop with 26 laps to go and emerged with a six-second advantage over Rahal who came in four laps later. Dixon had to work hard to make his tyres last to the end as both drivers also had to negotiate backmarkers in front of them.

Despite a superb late push from Rahal, Dixon gained enough time on the penultimate lap to ultimately hold on and win the race by less than half a second.

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Rahal 36 laps, the most of any driver, but missed out on what would have been his first victory in over six years.

Pato O’Ward led the McLaren team with a third-place finish, ahead of Lundgaard, who slipped to fourth after a slow penultimate pit stop caused by a problem on his refuelling rig. Alexander Rossi rounded out the top five while Felix Rosenqvist in the third McLaren retired from the race with a mechanical issue.

Will Power finished sixth while Palou in seventh behind him extended his championship lead with three races remaining. Palou, whose bombshell rejection of McLaren has been the talk of the paddock over the past 36 hours, has a chance to clinch his second IndyCar Series championship as soon as the upcoming Gateway 500 on August 27th.

Dixon’s victory moves him ahead of Newgarden for second in the championship table. He is now 101 points behind his team mate, with Newgarden trailing by 105.

Scott McLaughlin, Kyle Kirkwood and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top ten. Linus Lundqvist, in his second IndyCar start, was the highest-finishing rookie in 12th. Grosjean had a strong recovery drive after his involvement in the first-lap incident, but his car stopped on the final lap and he dropped to 18th.

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Brickyard GP race results

Position Car Driver Team Engine
1 9 Scott Dixon Ganassi Honda
2 15 Graham Rahal RLL Honda
3 5 Pato O’Ward McLaren Chevrolet
4 45 Christian Lundgaard RLL Honda
5 7 Alexander Rossi McLaren Chevrolet
6 12 Will Power Penske Chevrolet
7 10 Alex Palou Ganassi Honda
8 3 Scott McLaughlin Penske Chevrolet
9 27 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Honda
10 8 Marcus Ericsson Ganassi Honda
11 21 Rinus VeeKay Carpenter Chevrolet
12 60 Linus Lundqvist Meyer Shank Honda
13 26 Colton Herta Andretti Honda
14 30 Jack Harvey RLL Honda
15 06 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Honda
16 18 David Malukas Coyne/HMD Honda
17 77 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
18 28 Romain Grosjean Andretti Honda
19 29 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Honda
20 20 Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter Chevrolet
21 78 Agustin Canapino Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
22 51 Sting Ray Robb Coyne/RWR Honda
23 14 Santino Ferrucci Foyt Chevrolet
24 11 Marcus Armstrong Ganassi Honda
25 2 Josef Newgarden Penske Chevrolet
26 55 Benjamin Pedersen Foyt Chevrolet
27 6 Felix Rosenqvist McLaren Chevrolet

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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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5 comments on “Dixon spins but wins after resisting Rahal’s charge”

  1. Newgarden had one big disaster of a race weekend.
    Rahal chasing after Dixon for 20 laps had such a beautiful classic racing vibe!

  2. “beautiful classic racing” I think this describes Indycar in general. Never disappoints. In F1 Rahal would’ve blew past Dixon in a DRS zone in the most boring fashion imaginable. Indycar is a constant reminder of what motorsport is meant to be and long may it continue.

    1. +100
      loving watching classic racing

    2. Wrong since rahal NEVER got within 1 second of Dixon, do you actually know the rules of DRS, and have you ever tried to get and stay within 1second of a high downforce car?

      1. Errr no, Rahal was well within 1s 2-3 laps from the end (0.9 – 0.7s, even momentarily down to 0.25 s on a few occasions), but he dropped off in the last lap again – i guess he either fried his tires or he simply gave up after not making it into T1 (the best passing spot on the circuit).

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